KENNEBEC, S.D. (KELO) – How a student starts their day can impact whether they have a good time at school. That’s why a staff member at one KELOLAND school district is making it a priority to put a smile on students’ faces each morning.
Whether it’s raining, snowing, or a bright, sunny morning, you’ll find Syndi Ozanne outside Lyman Elementary with her Bluetooth speaker in hand.
“I go outside and dance, it’s just the best job in the world, get to see the kids and they all smile and I can tell under their masks,” paraprofessional with the Lyman School District, Syndi Ozanne said.
Each morning just after 8:00 she’s outside the school with a smile on her face and performing her best dance moves.
“When I first started last year, they were kind of like ‘I don’t want everyone to see me dance,’ but when I dance, they go ‘well okay we can dance,’ but I give them the choice, some just want hugs, some want to dance and hugs,” Ozanne said.
Ozanne has worked in the district for about 15 years. She typically spends her day as a para for the second grade classrooms.
But this is something extra to help start each students’ day on the right foot.
“Some of them have trouble coming into school because they’re shy or scared and it helps,” Ozanne said.
“It makes me have a better day, if I come to school a little grumpy it makes me happier,” 2nd grader, Jada Lillebo said.
“Syndi is outside and it feels good to have someone outside and make my day,” 2nd grader, Hase Hills said. “I like seeing her do that because it probably makes other kids day too.”
Rene Lillebo is the principal at Lyman Elementary. She says this can have a positive impact on everyone’s day.
“I have never heard her once say ‘it’s too cold outside, I’m not going outside today,’ or ‘it’s raining, I have to go outside in the rain,’ it’s not anything that has ever been asked of her, it’s something she does because she loves it, so no matter rain, sunshine, snow, she’s out there and dancing and ready to make someone’s day,” principal Lyman Elementary, Rene Lillebo said.
And if Ozanne happens to miss a day, it doesn’t go unnoticed.
“When she’s not here, you hear about it, you’ll have kids come to the office and say where is Syndi today, or parents will text me and say they were disappointed they didn’t get to see her dancing this morning,” Rene Lillebo said.
Lillebo says staff like Syndi set an example of dedication to students.
“Those are the employees that are priceless to you, they’re willing to do anything and everything to make a child’s day and those are the people we want to keep forever,” Rene Lillebo said.
Making this a simple action that can go a long way.
“I think it’s really good because, no matter what we get to see her outside dancing,” Jada Lillebo said.
“This is the best job in the world, I get to do what I want, it’s really not a job, I get to see the kids, and dance, and pretend I can sing,” Ozanne said.
Ozanne even dresses up on some days. She also says she gives the students options of what music they want to listen to and lately they’ve been choosing rock and roll.